Slovenia's Maribor to host prestigious European Orchestral Academy


Slovenia's second largest city, Maribor, scored a recent coup by getting the right to host the European Orchestral Academy from September 2007 onwards. The academy offers post-graduate studies to 86 graduates from auditions in ten European cities. The students will have studied at Europe's premier musical conservatories, and at the academy in Maribor, will make up their own symphonic orchestra.

But why Maribor? The general manager of the academy explained that the city had excellent plans, a good location and a show of readiness by all three partners.

Brigita Pavlic heads the concert agency Narodni Dom, which is one of the partners:

"Maribor was selected as the host city because of its geographic position, first of all, in the heart of Europe. But of course because the project's three partners: the municipality, the university of Maribor, and the cultural center Narodni Dom, are offering all the academy needs: the concert hall, the offices, the extra rehearsal room and lecture rooms, accommodation of course: in the first stage, student housing of the university, and in the second stage the Zicki Dvor (Zicki Manor). We are willing to integrate the concerts of the academy in our concert series and we will of course keep the general support in implementing the projects into the existing cultural life."

The project will be financed by the three partners, with additional income coming from donations and the EU.

It is a big boost for the city, as Pavlic explains:

"There will be of course economic benefits for Slovenia and the city of Maribor, like a new dimension of international prestige, year-round tourism, the members of the orchestral academy will spend their weekly stipend in Maribor, employment in the city for members of the staff, and no less important is community engagement. And this means encouraging youngsters and adults to classical music and the concert going experience, lasting and meaningful relationships between the orchestra and the community, to develop classical training and build on the success of the local orchestra and so on. So there are really a lot of economic and other benefits."

Students at the academy will take courses in such subjects as orchestral performance and music management. They will perform on their own, as well as take part in local festivals, such as Slovenia's largest open-air festival: the Lent Festival.